What We're Reading: Top State Stories 8/12
MS: Mississippi among worst states for childhood COVID-19 infection rates per capita
As most schools reopen this month, a new report shows that children across Mississippi carry more COVID-19 per capita than nearly every other state.
NY: New York accuses egg producer of price gouging in pandemic
New Yorkers may have paid quadruple what they should have for eggs at a time when virus cases were surging, according to a lawsuit filed by Democratic Attorney General Letitia James against egg producer Hillandale Farms.
KY: Kentucky school district defies governor
A Kentucky school board voted to open school buildings as planned despite Democratic Gov. Andy Beshear’s recommendation to postpone in-person learning until Sept. 28, officials announced on Twitter.
CO: Colorado governor moves to delay evictions, but some fear renters are nearing a breaking point
Colorado Gov. Jared Polis, a Democrat, has extended an executive order requiring landlords to give tenants more notice before seeking evictions. But some residents fear the move will not go far enough.
TX: Loss of football 'like losing Christmas' for Texas college towns
Economists said canceling Texas college football would be devastating to local businesses that rely on the huge influxes of cash from home games. Meanwhile, athletics officials weigh whether they can risk the health and welfare of student athletes.
MN: Children, teens fuel Minnesota COVID-19 case growth
Children and teenagers have fueled much of the growth in COVID-19 cases in Minnesota this summer. COVID-19 risks increase with age but still exist in children and younger adults, state health officials warn.
AL: Alabama governor wants college football
Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey wants to see college football this fall but believes safety must still be a priority. The Republican wants college football to return to Alabama, including the two in-state schools at which she serves on the board of trustees.
NJ: New Jersey parents are using 'learning pods' to replace the classroom
Across New Jersey, small, at-home learning groups called pods have quickly become an alternative to the traditional classroom, offering safety, socialization and a sharing of child care responsibilities.
FL: Trump employment plan 'not an option' for Florida
Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis dismissed President Donald Trump’s proposal to spend emergency pandemic dollars to boost Florida's unemployment benefits. Instead, DeSantis said he’s considering taking a loan from the U.S. Department of Labor.
ND: North Dakota starts mask campaign 5 months into pandemic
North Dakota Department of Health officials kicked off a campaign to convince residents to wear masks in an effort to reduce spread of the coronavirus, five months after the first COVID-19 case was confirmed in the state.
RI: Rhode Island governor considering postponing public schools’ start date
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo is considering postponing the Aug. 31 start date for public schools in Rhode Island. School leaders have been struggling to prepare three different scenarios for the start of school: a full in-person return, a partial return and remote learning.
NC: Judge rules North Carolina governor has pandemic powers
Democratic North Carolina Gov. Roy Cooper has the authority to issue coronavirus-related orders even if other political leaders don’t sign off on them, a judge has ruled. Republican Lt. Gov. Dan Forest, who’s running against Cooper for the governor’s office, sued Cooper over some of his executive orders.
AZ: Arizona lays out complex path for gym, bar openings
Arizona gyms and bars cannot reopen until their counties meet certain COVID-19 benchmarks including case numbers, positive test results and hospitalization rates. The benchmarks are similar to the recommendations state officials rolled out for schools.
UT: Utah beats governor’s deadline for fewer than 400 average daily diagnoses
For the past week, Utah has averaged 399 new confirmed cases per day — meeting Republican Gov. Gary Herbert’s goal of reaching a seven-day average of fewer than 400 new cases per day by Sept. 1. The rate of tests with positive results was at 8.9% on Tuesday.
WY: Wyoming state parks on track for record year
Many of the state park visitors came from within Wyoming, due largely to the fact that for a time earlier this year, out-of-state visitors were barred from purchasing day passes or reserving campsites, precautions put in place to slow the spread of the coronavirus.
HI: Hawaii corrections workers fear infection as outbreak grows
Staff at a Hawaii jail describe apparent lapses in the protocols that are supposed to keep the pandemic out. Four staffers said jail employees are becoming increasingly alarmed as the virus has spread.
AL: Judge dismisses lawsuit challenging Alabama mask order
A judge dismissed a lawsuit challenging the legality of Republican Alabama Gov. Kay Ivey’s statewide order to wear face coverings in public places to combat the spread of the coronavirus.
GA: Most polls close in Georgia runoffs with short lines, a few glitches
Voting in Georgia’s runoffs has ended in most of the state, with the exception of polling places in two counties where poll workers had difficulties operating new voting equipment.
MS: Mississippi voters sue over mail voting
Mississippi voters who fear crowded polling places because of COVID-19 are asking in a lawsuit to be allowed to vote by absentee ballot in the Nov. 3 general election.
CT, NJ, NY: Five states removed from, two added to Connecticut, New York, New Jersey quarantine list
Five states were removed from the tri-state travel advisory, meaning travelers coming from those states will no longer be subject to a 14-day self-quarantine upon arrival in New York, New Jersey and Connecticut. Hawaii, South Dakota and the Virgin Islands were all added to the quarantine list, pushing the total to 33 states and territories.
WA: Washington to create $40M fund for undocumented workers
Undocumented workers in Washington state who lost income because of the coronavirus pandemic but were passed over for federal assistance will get help from a new $40 million relief fund. Gov. Jay Inlsee, a Democrat, is setting up the program with cooperation from a broad coalition of immigrant rights organizations.
GA: Georgia’s welfare enrollment drops as food stamp numbers skyrocket
While Georgia’s unemployment numbers surged at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the number of people who received welfare continued to drop from 2019 through June.
NY: Judge throws out racetracks' suit over New York pandemic restrictions
A federal judge threw out a lawsuit filed jointly by five racetracks across New York that claimed Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo's executive order barring spectators at the motor-sports venues to slow the spread of the coronavirus violated several constitutional protections.
OH: Ohio back-to-school plans differ between urban, rural areas
Most schools in or near Ohio’s big cities appear to be returning to school online this fall or will start classes with a hybrid model of partly in-person, partly online. Most rural schools appear to be planning a return to the classroom five days a week.
OH: Ohio State requiring COVID-19 testing for all students in dorms
Ohio State University’s incoming President Kristina M. Johnson announced that the university intends to implement stricter COVID-19 safety measures this fall, including regular, mandatory testing of all students living on campus and a mask requirement outdoors.
MA: Hot spots persist in Massachusetts
A number of Massachusetts cities and towns are struggling to extinguish coronavirus hotspots as the closely watched positive test rates in their communities remain above 3% — a red flag for reopening schools and the economy, epidemiologists say.
TN: Tennessee GOP lawmakers refuse to wear masks
When the Tennessee legislature returned to Nashville, dozens of House Republicans walked around their office building and the state Capitol while not wearing masks.